As a parent, I think being honest and sharing the age-appropriate version of the truth with your kids is the best way to go.
That said, there are some things kids will never understand and are also really none of their business – and also some instances when fibbing or keeping a secret is just flat-out in their best interest.
These 16 people’s parents kept secrets that pretty much run the gamut, and it’s hard to tell whether or not they’re even happy to be in the loop as adults.
16. A good dad.
That secret was revealed to me not when I reached adulthood but when my father passed away. When I was a baby, I had a baby doll which I loved. I still have that doll now that I am 28 y.o.
One day, a month about after my fathers death, my mother told me that he had bought me 3 same baby dolls and when the one I was using had gotten damaged, he secretly replaced her with a new one.
He kept that secret as a present for the day of my wedding, along with all the baby dolls I had used all those years. He didn’t make it to reveal it to me himself.
15. I feel like they could have handled that better.
That I had a much older half-sister. Apparently my father had got some girl knocked up in high school, her parents didn’t like him and thought they were too young to raise a kid, so they just packed up and moved. He knew she existed, but never tried to locate her and just moved on with his life.
After I was in college, the sister had contacted him and they got together. Well nobody bothered to mention this fact to me until I come home from college for Thanksgiving and this strange women is sitting at the table and my dad says, “Meet your sister.”
14. It’s not all bad.
My great-uncle (dad’s uncle) left me a large sum of money in trust that I was to receive at either age 25, graduated from college, or was honorably discharged from military service (he retired from military), whichever came first. I had no idea and I’m glad I didn’t.
I joined the military right out of high school and when I had my DD-214 in hand, my parents took me to a lawyer who laid it all out. Wow. Because of the enhanced GI Bill, I didn’t have to touch a cent of it for tuition. I did use it to buy a house though.
I miss my great-uncle as much for his wisdom as his company.
13. The curiosity!
When I was in college and my parents got divorced, my dad gave me all the info for when he passes.
Told me where things are, and had me go to his bank to sign a document for access to his account after he dies. When we were leaving the bank, he told me, “your mother is not who you think she is. Everything you need to know is in my deposit box.”
I have no clue what he could be talking about—he never elaborated, and my mom laughed it off when I told her about it.
Guess I’ll find out one day.
12. It makes sense, now.
My grandma owned a bar when we were growing up but also ran a huge bookie/betting service from the bar. I didn’t know until she passed away.
It all made sense, the random police showing up, the robberies.
11. I love a happy ending.
When I was a kid, my dad accidentally killed a raccoon with his car. It had a young one with it that wasn’t hit, so we adopted the baby raccoon.
We adored it, but we were not at all equipped to care for it. There was no lock or cage that could stop this thing. It was very clever, strong and curious. It got into cupboards and ate food and trash, and we’d find its shit in the most random places.
One day my dad sat me down and told me that my raccoon had “gone to live on a farm.” I was old enough to know what that meant, and I was heartbroken.
Just a few years ago I was telling this story to my husband and my dad interrupted me and said that he literally, actually gave my raccoon away to a work acquaintance of his that had a farm and a lot of wooded property. It had become so accustomed to humans it constantly broke into the man’s house and ate his food, and got enormously fat and lived a long ornery raccoon life.
10. Bless his heart.
My grandfather was a small business owner who everyone always thought of as extremely frugal due to growing up poor.
Later we found out he spent a significant amount of money on charitable causes and helped a lot of his employees with financial and in one case legal trouble.
Positive secret, but it was definitely a secret.
9. Is this real life?
There was story growing up about how a local prince wanted to marry me and offered things like cows for my hand in marriage.
When my father passed away I went to my home country and met cousins I had not met before.
Turned out the prince was the president’s son and it wasn’t an offer, it was a demand. We snuck out of the country because he was going to make me his wife – bear in mind, I was a toddler.
My mom filled in the back story. The company my dad worked for had to smuggle us out of the country. My life was so exciting when I was 6.
8. You do what you gotta do.
When I was in my 20’s my mom revealed that my uncle (who was an ordained minister and my dad’s older brother) helped arrange for my dad to get a sham marriage with another woman so he could get his green card prior to his relationship with my mom. It was a mildly mind blowing revelation for me at the time.
I’ve never bothered to do the math on the timeline of my past, but its belatedly occurred to me that I might technically be the offspring of an extramarital affair. My mother did meet my father towards the tail end of his fake marriage after all. Hmmm…
7. Well that’s charming.
When I turned 18 I got a letter from a distant Aunt and Uncle wishing me a happy birthday.
I hadn’t seen them since I was a a baby, but there’s hundreds of pictures of them and me together when I was a baby. They used to babysit me a lot and take me on vacations with them.
My Mom told me they used me to smuggle things. I guess they said it was super easy to smuggle just about anything with a baby. At one point literally hiding cocaine in my diaper.
6. That’s a doozy.
I am 43 and recently found out that my grandfather, he had passed away before I was born, was in prison when he was 16 for killing his father. There were reports of child and spouse abuse and alcoholism.
My family looks at is as he was protecting his siblings. When he got out of prison he met my grandmother and they had 11 children that be protected until his death!
5. Ooh that’s a bad day.
That college fund that they were always talking about had $148.74 in it.
My college fund was given to my aunt because she was “going through a hard time” and would “definitely pay it back”.
It’s been twenty years… I guess we just gave her thousands of dollars. Ya know… for funsies.
4. It would have broken her heart.
When I was a kid, I used to be friends with the next door woman, who was about 20 years old. To me she was a best friend because she would read to me, or play with me or take me to walks.
One morning I woke up and her dad was at my house and gave me a painting she made, then my parents told me my friend had to move to another city for work and she left me the painting to remember her.
Some time later we moved to another city but returned years after when my dad died. I found the dad and sister were living there still.
There I knew the truth, my friend had died on a car accident back then, but they decided to lie to me because they didn’t want to hurt me.
3. Probably a pretty common story.
My mother recently (I am 52) told me that I have a half-sibling out there somewhere.
She had a child before she met my father and put him up for adoption.
2. At least the house was clean?
When we went to go spend the weekend with Aunt and Uncle, Mom and Dad would do a little meth and clean the entire house from top to bottom in about two hours and spend the rest of the weekend “being mom and dad”.
1. She didn’t know that.
My mom regularly says things without thinking, and will reveal truths she forgot she told me otherwise about.
When I was a kid her boss would babysit me at her work so she didn’t have to get daycare. He would always put on the Horton Hears A Who VHS and let me look through his rock collection. He was great and we thought of him like family. So when he passed from illness after we moved I was very bummed.
Years following, I was at my mom’s house, and something reminded me of him. I mentioned him to my mom and she says:
“Oh yeah, it’s was so crazy that he killed himself”
“Uh, you mean he was sick right?”
“No he hung himself, you knew that”
NOPE SURE DIDN’T MOM. Was very sad that someone who brought so much joy to our lives was going through such a struggle and I never knew.
I honestly hope I never have to make choice like these as a parent.
Did your folks reveal something shocking to you once you were an adult? Tell us what it was in the comments!